New Cleveland Elementary School To Feature "Safe Rooms"

Monday, August 12, 2013

An $18.1 million new Cleveland elementary school will feature a "safe room" in every classroom, members of the Cleveland City Council were told Monday.

Dr. Martin Ringstaff, city school superintendent, said, "This will probably be the safest school in the state of Tennessee."

He said he expects it will be a model for future schools to help guard against school shooters as well as tornadoes.

Brian Templeton of the Upland Design Group of Cookeville, said the safe rooms will meet FEMA guidelines. They will include concrete ceilings and walls able to withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour. Ventilation and lighting will be included, and they will serve as storage areas when not in special emergency use.

The school for 700 students is to be built on a 20-acre site on Georgetown Road.

Dr. Ringstaff said, "We are already over-capacity. We are gaining 80 to 100 students every year. This is a dire need."

Mr. Templeton said the school will include a large cafeteria as well as a multi-purpose area that can be used as a gym or for school assemblies.

He said there is interest in a possible nearby greenway and a trail leading to a creek and wetlands at the rear of the property.

Mayor Tom Rowland said, "We need this school. There's no question about it. It's frugal to build it as quickly as possible."

However, officials said the funding is not yet worked out.   

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